Steps in Leuphana's Evolution since 2007

Originally founded in 1946 as a teacher-training college, Leuphana University Lüneburg was granted university status in 1989. The university became a foundation under public law in 2004 and merged with the University of Applied Sciences North-East Lower Saxony in 2005. In order to ensure its continued existence, the university committees initiated a strategic realignment in 2005 and have consistently pursued it ever since. The important steps Leuphana took and the successes it achieved since then on the path to becoming a competitive university were:

Taught Programmes

  • 2007: Implementation of an innovative higher education model which has, since then, won several awards
  • 2007: Foundation of the first public college in Germany
  • 2008: Foundation of the Graduate School as a common umbrella for master's and doctoral studies
  • 2009: Foundation of the Professional School for extra-occupational (job-concurrent) studies
  • 2012: BA Programme Studium Individuale as contemporary liberal education
  • 2015: First double degree, in cooperation with with Arizona State University
  • 2015: 2015: Most start-up-friendly university among the medium-sized ones for the first time (meanwhile for the third time in a row)
  • 2016: Germany's first postgraduate course on how to interact with refugees
  • 2017: First-time ranked ahead of renowned large universities by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation


  • 2009: First large-volume third-party funded project: EU-funded innovation incubator
  • 2010: Foundation of Europe's first Faculty of Sustainability and Germany's largest Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 2013: First DFG Research Training Group: “Media Cultures of Computer Simulation”
  • 2013: First ERC Consolidator Grant procured
  • 2014: WNE application success with 4 large projects
  • 2015: First Lichtenberg Professorship
  • 2016: First DFG Research Training Group: Cultures of Criticism
  • 2017: Publication figures increased fivefold since 2007
  • 2017: Ranked among the worldwide strongest 10% of all business schools in a ranking published in the Journal of World Business


  • 2012: First cooperation with a US university (Arizona State University)
  • 2014: First cooperation with a time-honoured Anglo-Saxon university (University of Glasgow)
  • 2016: First cooperation with a non-university research institution (Helmholtz Research Centre Geesthacht)
  • 2017: First strategic alliance cooperation (with TU Hamburg)


  • 2017: Completion of the first university building in Germany designed by Daniel Libeskind, which the famous architect conceived together with students when he was a part-time professor at Leuphana.

History of the University's Foundation

  • 1471: Emperor Friedrich III grants permission to establish a Higher School of Law in Lüneburg.
  • 1479: Pope Sixtus IV approves the establishment of a university which includes all higher faculties and general studies.
  • 1946: Foundation of a teacher training college in Lüneburg on the initiative of the British occupation force. By training teachers, this higher education institution was expected to contribute to establishing a new democratic tradition in Germany.
  • 1978: Lüneburg’s Teacher Training College becomes an independent scientific university with the right to award doctorates and professorial degrees after having been a department of the Lower Saxony’s School of Education
  • 1980s: The subject spectrum was expanded to include economics and humanities and social sciences, thus transforming an institution of higher education into a university.
  • 1989: It became a university on 1 May 1989 by an act passed by the State Parliament of Lower Saxony.
  • 1990s: Finally, a faculty of environmental sciences was established in the 1990s. Today, it also includes the UNESCO Chair for Sustainability and the world's first MBA in Corporate Sustainability Management.
  • 2003: The University of Lüneburg became one of the first five German universities, whose legal form was changed to foundation under public law. This status opened up broad opportunities for independent action.
  • 2005: The University of Lüneburg merged with the University of Applied Sciences North-East Lower Saxony. This move contributed to broadening the existing subjects on offer in business administration and social work. 2005 saw the pre-merger range of course offerings expanded, bringing in the new subjects of automation technology, business law and business psychology, teacher training, cultural studies, business and social sciences, and environmental sciences, all of which were taken over from the former university of applied sciences. With the merger, links to the professional world have grown in importance within the university. This did not escape notice in the outside world, as it received the award of the most founder-friendly university in Germany.